The Free Motion Quilting Project: July 2017

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Yay! and Uggh!

This week has been a weird mix of Yay! and Uggh! On the Yay! side I have a new quilting collaboration and podcast coming out next week.

How would you quilt this mini quilt? I couldn't decide for a bit, then decided to throw the kitchen sink at it with eight different designs. Let's just say I went completely over the top with the quilting and (I hope) it worked!

Be looking forward to this collaboration, podcast, and new video all next Wednesday and Thursday.

On the Uggh! side I have some kind of stomach bug that has beaten me around the block. I really hate getting sick in the summer and this was a doozie.

Thankfully I'm feeling better today and heading back out to the Crafty Cottage to film new videos and plan more fun projects. Getting sick definitely puts good health in perspective!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Machine Quilting Feathers on the Grace Qnique

Happy Sunday! Today is a very lazy day because we spent all day yesterday canning 30 quart jars of tomatoes. It was hot, sticky work, but definitely worth it to enjoy fresh tomatoes in the middle of winter. Today I'm continuing to work with food as I'm quilting another pear in my table runner with Swirling Feathers! Check out the new video on the Grace Qnique right here:

Click Here to check out the Grace Qnique 14+ machine and learn more about it.

Swirling Feathers is one of my favorite feather designs because it allows you to stitch feathers in all directions and fit them together organically. Sometimes the design has to completely break the rules to fill a quilting space consistently like around the stem of the pear shape:

This feather design is also great for sorting out excess fabric issues, which is something I'm dealing with on this quilt. If you watch the video, you'll see how the fabric begins to go baggy within the pear shape as I quilt towards the edges.

This was caused by two things - #1 Density - the background is quilted densely with collage quilting. The density of that stitching has made the fabrics very stable and secure, which causes the unquilted areas to bubble up a bit more.

#2 - Where are the pins? - I clearly basted this quilt quickly and didn't leave the pins in the pears as I quilted the background. That allowed the fabrics more leeway to shift and puddle over the pear shapes.

Is this a deal breaker? Nope, I don't think so. Quilting designs like Swirling Feathers will secure the open spaces and allow the excess fabric space to puff outward. If I end up stitching a pleat or two in the quilt top, it's not the end of the world. It's a table runner, not the Mona Lisa!

So that's it for this video! I hope you enjoyed learning how I quilted this pear shape with Swirling Feathers. I have a few other videos of quilting on this project you may like to check out:

Collage Quilting Four Designs - Learn how to quilt the four free motion quilting designs in the background of this quilt.

How to Quilt on Marked Lines - How to quilt the marked lines on printed fabric to create a cool effect.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, July 14, 2017

Machine Quilting Bean Sprouts, Design #482

Gosh it's hot! It's definitely feeling like July today so I plan to spend some time in the pool soaking up the sun. It also seems like a great day to stitch a new quilting design so I created Bean Sprouts:

This funky, flowing quilting design starts with a very simple Dew Drop shape. Basically a wiggly line with two tear drops on the end. Then just echo quilt around it multiple times until you get bored and move on to quilt another shape.

See how this design is quilted in this new video:

Are you looking for more inspiring quilting designs to add beautiful texture to your quilts? Click Here to find 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs, a huge book filled with hundreds of quilting designs to stitch on your home machine.

Now let's learn a bit more about quilting Bean Sprouts:

Difficulty Level: Beginner - This is a really simple design to machine quilt so long as you keep the basic rules in mind. Memorize the starting Dew Drop shape and quilt it carefully first, then all you have to do is travel stitch and echo to expand the design.

Design Family: Echoing - This family of designs will fill your quilt with a clustering effect. Basically you form the starting shape and rows of echoes, then to keep going with the design you stitch a new shape and new set of echoes.

Last week's design Cotton Candy is also an echoing design. The only difference between the two is the starting shape - Fluffy Clouds or Dew Drops!

Where Do I Quilt It? - Echoing Designs like Bean Sprouts can be quilted anywhere on your quilts. You can expand the design and quilt it on a huge scale and cover your quilt with All Over Quilting. You can also quilt it easily in blocks, sashing, or borders.

This design has a beautiful flowy texture that would also look nice in art quilts and wall hangings. You could use Bean Sprouts to add texture to a windy sky, or flowing waves.

No matter where you quilt it, this Bean Sprouts is going to add a soft, curving texture to your quilts. If you use it in your quilt, make sure to share a picture with me on the Leah Day Quilting Facebook Group!

Whew! It's time to hit the pool! What are you quilting this weekend? I'm puffing more squares of James's puff quilt and quilting walking foot samples for my new book. Learn more about both projects in this week's podcast episode here.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Graffiti Quilting with Karlee Porter - Podcast Episode #24

Helly My Quilting Friends! I have a terrific interview for you today with Karlee Porter, the creator of Graffiti Quilting. Click Here to find Karlee's website.

I also have a super exciting announcement - all the podcast episodes are now live on YouTube! I've put the episodes together in a playlist so you just have to click once and the videos will play automatically so you can binge listen / watch to all the episodes shared so far.

Also I've pushed myself to start recording the introduction section live. I pulled out a quilt, turned on the camera, and shared the updates from around the house while stitching on James's puff quilt. The rest of the video will be a still image, but it's one small step to making the entire podcast live video (which is a big leap forward!)

Watch this week's episode here:

Click Here to check out No Sewing Until You Quilt It, an awesome form of applique that allows you to create turned edge applique without taking a single stitch before you're ready to quilt! And yes, I do use affiliate links below to help support this podcast.

Now for links from the interview with Karlee Porter:

In 2014 Karlee published her first book Graffiti Quilting and has also followed up with Graffiti Quilting Volume 2. Graffiti Quilting is basically a method for taking lots of different designs and squishing them together to form a unique texture for your quilts.

Graffiti Quilting from
Karlee considers herself an artist first and had been drawing graffiti style art for years. When she learned free motion quilting she simply decided to quilt what she already knew how to draw.

Karlee has traveled around the world teaching Graffiti Quilting. We both agree quilting is an awesome industry because quilt guilds and shops help connect us together. Her favorite moment of a class is when the lightbulb clicks for a student and they suddenly understand how Graffiti Quilting works.

We both agree teaching online is very helpful for both teachers and students. Authenticity and interaction is very important to Karlee and she's interested in using technology to make beautiful quilts and teach new techniques.

Karlee also designs custom printed fabrics for quilters to practice machine quilting. is my favorite website for printing fabric easily and on demand.

Don't forget to check out Karlee's website and learn more about Graffiti Quilting!

Now for a few updates from around the house:

In the video I was working on James's puff quilt while I chatted about this week's news. I've been working on this quilt for several months first folding the fabric squares to create individual little pillows, then I stitched them together into blocks, then stitched the quilt together.

Puff quilt with Leah Day

Now I've sliced very small holes in the back of the quilt and I'm puffing each little pillow with exactly 5 grams of fiberfill (yes, I'm weighing each puff!) I decided to go back over the quilt and stitch each hole closed so the fiberfill won't leak out after the quilt is complete.

Whew! It's already been several months and I still need to finish puffing, stitching, then sandwich and figure out how to quilt between each puff. It's been a crazy fun project to create and yes, one of these days I will get around to making a video tutorial so you can see how I made it.

walking foot quilting with Leah Day
I've also been working on my walking foot quilting book this week and we have a potential date for when it will be finished! That's super exciting, but also scary because I still need to find a photographer, plan the photos, and finish three of the quilts.

It's been an interesting process to create this book and I've learned a bit more about how to stay better organized and how I can write my next book better and with less stress. Yes, self publishing is a lot more work, but the payoff is definitely worth it. Click Here to find Podcast Episode #1 about publishing.

While I've been finishing the text and diagrams for the book, Dad has been having fun making Wonky Christmas trees downstairs. I'm a bit jealous - these are so cheerful and fun!

Wonky Christmas Tree quilt pattern

Click Here to find the free Wonky Christmas Tree Pattern. I'm planning to create a simple, skinny wall hanging version of this quilt to give as Christmas gifts. Maybe if we start in July we'll have them done in time!

I've also been working on little tree art quilts with scrap velvet and silk fabrics. I also turned the hanging rod in the wood shop and plan to make beaded accents for each quilt.

art quilting trees with Leah Day

Sometimes I get stuck on projects and fearful of ruining it with ugly stitching. I plan to make several more trees then force myself to start quilting them. Mostly the issue these days is TIME - where does it go and how do I get more of it?! Lol! I think I need to listen to Vicki Holloway's podcast episode again and remember her tips for working efficiently.

So that's it for this week! I hope you like the new video podcast and seeing what I'm stitching on. Let me know what you think and if you have suggestions for quilters to be on the show. I'm always looking for more quilting friends!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, July 10, 2017

Quilting the Triple Tulip Flower Block

Last week we learned how to piece the Triple Tulip Flower Block and this week I'm quilting it with a combination of feathers, Pebbling, and a ruler guided grid design. I love this quilting design!

How to piece and quilt a flower quilt block

Quilting this block is a little time consuming, but it's absolutely worth it because of the beautiful texture and designs we're adding to the block. Take your time with each section and follow the video to learn how to move through the block with the least number of thread breaks:

Click Here to find the pattern for the Triple Tulip Flower Block.

I'll be honest - Pebbling isn't usually my first choice for a background filler design. It's a bit more time consuming to stack circular shapes together nicely and the texture can be very dominant on the quilt and outshine the other designs.

How to quilt a flower quilt block

For this block I think quilting Pebbling was a great choice because I could quilt it easily around the flower shapes and the almost-matching thread made the texture blend in a lot better than if I'd used contrasting thread.

Quilting with rulers on your home machine

What did you think of the ruler foot quilting in this block? I love quilting with rulers because my lines are straighter and much more evenly spaced than I could ever create quilting free hand (without marks or rulers).

For this block I was using Template #6 from the Dresden Plate Template Set to guide the lines. This template set can be used to cut out dozens of Dresden plate blocks AND it can be used for ruler foot quilting on your home machine. What can I say - I like tools that multitask!

If you'd like to learn more about ruler foot quilting, click here to find a Ruler Foot Quilting Basics video with lots of tips on ruler quilting on your home machine. I still feel like I've only just scratched the surface with ruler foot quilting and I can't wait to dig deeper and learn more about this quilting style.

Have you tried ruler foot quilting yet? What did you think? Would you like to see more designs and videos created with this quilting style? Let me know in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

P.S - Don't forget about our challenge this month - piece and quilt the first 6 blocks of your Flower Festival Quilt and follow the instructions in Block 7 to bind them together. Post a photo to the Block Party Facebook Group and you'll get a copy of Block #8 for free!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Quilting on a Marked Line on the Grace Qnique

Gasp! I'm coming up for air after working on my book all day. I've been busy creating diagrams to illustrate binding techniques for the last chapter in the book and honestly it's making me crazy! Give me a video camera and let me make a video on it any day.

Speaking of videos, I did have a fun adventure on the Grace Qnique longarm this week. I pulled out the IKEA pear table runner and began quilting inside the pear shapes. The design in this area was so busy I just quilted on the marked lines and shot a video to share how it worked:

Click Here to find all the videos I've shared on the Grace Qnique machine so far. I really love this little longarm and enjoy sharing a new tutorial on using this machine each week.

On this table runner, that was one crazy print inside that pear! I just picked a line to get started and began quilting through the area. The nice thing is the lines were 1/8-inch wide so I could quilt pretty sloppy and it still looked great.

Next week I'll plan to fill one of the empty pear shapes with feathers so be looking forward to that new video next Sunday. Do you like those background designs? Click Here to find a video on how I quilted them using Collage Style Quilting.

But I admit I'm getting a bit bored with those designs. If you have suggestions for more designs in this project let me know!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Friday, July 7, 2017

How to Machine Quilt Cotton Candy, Design #481

A few weeks ago I started playing around with a simple Clouds quilting design and then I couldn't seem to stop playing with the design! It's fun to quilt the fluffy shapes and add a light, pretty design to our quilts. Here's a simple variation I'm calling Cotton Candy:

Learn how to machine quilt Cotton Candy

Cotton Candy is a very simple design and a great way to practice quilting Clouds. You begin with the simple clouds shape, then travel stitch and echo quilt around it multiple times to add a ripply texture to your quilts.

Confused by all that quilty jargon? Watch how to quilt this design in this new machine quilting video:

Learn how to machine quilt a wholecloth

Would you like to take a quilting class with me? I've created several online quilting workshops just for you! Create the quilts, watch the videos, and learn how to quilt bigger quilts, master walking foot quilting, and even make a wholecloth quilt like the one above. Click Here to find a workshop.

Now let's learn more about quilting Cotton Candy:

Learn how to machine quilt Cotton Candy
Difficulty Level - Beginner. Cotton Candy isn't a hard quilting design to master because the steps are simple enough to memorize. Think of this like memorizing how to sign your name in cursive. It took a little time, but now you sign your name without even thinking about the letters and how they connect together to form the shapes.

Quilting a design like Cotton Candy is the same. It may help to mark the design on your quilt to begin, then quilt on the lines. That way you can see the lines and know where to stitch, then pretty soon you won't need the lines to guide you.

Design Family - Echoing - This family of designs begins with a simple shape (circle, triangle, fluffy cloud). You then travel stitch and echo around the shape to expand the design. Some similar designs include Echo Shell, Brain Coral, and Trippy Triangles

Try quilting these designs as well and then quilt Cotton Candy. Which is your favorite Echoing Design?

Where do we quilt it? - This is one sweet design and I think it will work just about anywhere in your quilts. You can expand the cloud shapes and echoes to quilt the design on a big scale for bed quilts. You can also shrink Cotton Candy down to quilt densely on wall hangings too.

Learn how to machine quilt Cotton Candy

Where do you think this design will work best? Give it a try and share a picture of your quilt on the Leah Day Quilting Friends Facebook Group. 

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Monday, July 3, 2017

How to Piece a Triple Tulip Flower Quilt Block

It's hard to believe we're already halfway done with the Flower Festival quilt! This month we have another patchwork challenge as we piece this beautiful Triple Tulip flower quilt block:

Triple Tulip Flower Quilt Block Tutorial

There are a lot of little pieces with these three flower blocks which can feel overwhelming. Take your time cutting, label your pieces, and arrange the shapes on a table top near your machine so you don't get confused by how it goes together.

Another thing that really helps is piecing the flower block together in units: the vase, the stems, and the flowers. Learn how to piece each unit of this block in this new quilting tutorial:

Click Here to find the pattern for Block #7 - the Triple Tulip Quilt Block!

How to connect quilted blocks
Because we have two full rows of the quilt complete, you can begin to think about connecting the blocks together into rows. This is a great step to take now so you'll have less to do in December when the last block pattern is published.

Starting in the Block #7 quilt pattern you will find instructions on connecting your blocks together using binding strips. The tip video on connecting the blocks is from last year's Sunshine Surprise quilt, but the steps are 100% the same.

Click Here to learn how to connect your blocks together.

Personally I'm connecting my blocks with the extra Sashing and Cornerstones pieces which increases the size of the quilt to 65 x 85 inches.

Flower Sampler Quilt by Leah Day

I'll be sharing an extra tip video later this month on connecting the rows together and matching the connecting binding strips. When pieced together carefully, your Flower Festival quilt will look like it was quilted in one big piece!

Triple Tulip Flower Quilt Block Pattern

Speaking of quilting, next week you'll learn how to quilt this beautiful block with feathers, Pebbling, and more ruler foot quilting. Be looking forward to this new quilting tutorial on Monday June 10th.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Ruler Quilting on a Sit Down Longarm Machine

It's time to finish up our baby quilt project! I had one last little corner to quilt and I decided to fill it with straight lines. The easiest way to quilt lines like this is to switch to a ruler foot and use a straight ruler to guide the quilting. Learn how it works in this new video:

Ruler quilting on a sit down longarm machine
Click Here to find all of the videos I've shared so far on quilting on the Grace Qnique 14+. I love this machine because it's very simple and easy to use, but has a large harp space so it feels easier to quilt my quilts.

In this video I attached a ruler foot to the Grace Qnique and used a thicker style ruler I had cut specially for quilting on my longarm.

You need to use a thicker ruler for this type of machine because the foot hops and could potentially jump on top of a thinner ruler. If you'd like this ruler created for your longarm, we'll need to special order a set of thicker templates for you. Click Here to contact us about the templates.

If you have a home sewing machine, you can use the Dresden Plate Template Set exactly as it's cut right now. Click Here to find this ruler set for home machines.

I'm currently working on a new set of quilting rulers that will be available in both a thin version for home machines and thick version for longarms. I love quilting with rulers because it's easy and fast and creates perfect lines every time.

I also attached True Grips to the back of the ruler to stop it from shifting on the quilt. Because we're guiding the quilt under the needle, you need to be sure the ruler doesn't slip as you move the quilt and ruler at the same time. 

Using the ruler as a guide, I was able to quilt straight lines at an angle below my Clouds quilting design to create Rainy Day! 

Ruler quilting on a sit down longarm machine

I love the effect of this design and how it finished off the edge of the baby quilt perfectly. In the last four weeks we've quilted the other designs in this quilt. As you can see, this is now one interesting baby quilt!

how to quilt a baby quilt video tutorial

I forgot to mention that I also pieced the back of this baby quilt with scrap blocks left over from the front. It's a very different look to the front and shows off the quilting designs even better:

how to quilt a baby quilt video tutorial

How to quilt a baby quilt video tutorialWhich side do you like best? Do you think this baby quilt is too busy with five designs quilted over the surface or just right with lots of textures and different designs?

There's a piece of me that thinks this is ridiculous, but most of me loves it! It makes no sense, there's no rhyme or reason to the designs, but it kinda works. I don't think the baby that eventually plays on this quilt is going to mind!

If you're just finding this project, you can watch more videos on the other designs used in this quilt. Click the links below to find quilting tutorials on each design:

This baby quilt was originally designed and quilted in 2013 for the Craftsy class Free Motion Fillers Vol 1. It's remained unfinished ever since, but now I've knocked it out in a very short time with four fun designs.

how to quilt a baby quilt video tutorial

Would you like to see more videos like this? Let me know in the comments below and I'll hunt through my stash for more unfinished quilt tops that just need some simple, large scale quilting designs to finish them off. I'm enjoying finishing the projects and I hope you're learning a lot by watching the quilting process.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, July 1, 2017

New Triple Tulip Quilt Pattern

It's the seventh month of the year which means it's time to jump back into patchwork and learn how to piece and quilt this fun Triple Tulip quilt block!

Find a Triple Tulip Flower Quilt Pattern

Click Here to find this new quilt pattern

This quilt pattern will definitely improve your patchwork skills as you cut and piece half square triangles, then combine shapes to create the vase, stem, and flower units.

To machine quilt this flower block, you'll learn how to quilt a simple Feather Shell design in the flowers, fill the background of the block with Pebbling, and play with more ruler foot quilting in the vase.

Whether you're just getting started with quilting or you've been making quilts for years, this quilt block will teach you many new skills and give you the chance to try multiple free motion quilting designs in one block.

Since we're halfway done with the Flower Festival quilt, I've also included information on how to connect your quilt blocks together with binding strips so you can put half of your quilt together this month.

Bonus Challenge

If you'd like to win the pattern for Block #8 for free, here's a fun Flower Festival challenge for July:

1. Piece and quilt six blocks for the Flower Festival quilt.
2. Connect all six blocks together using the instructions included in the Block #7 quilt pattern.
3. Shoot a picture of your quilt and post it to the Block Party Facebook Group. We'll have a specific pinned post for you to share your photos so it's easy to find.

Post by July 31st and you'll receive the pattern for Block #8 for free on August 1st!

Have questions? Post in the comments below an I'll help you out!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day
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